Zoom in on microorganisms

Genetic engineering and the dairy industry: a question of productivity?

Production of somatotrophine

Production of somatotrophine

© Illustration Nicole Catellier, Cinémanima inc.

Somatotrophin production
The gene (a segment of DNA strand) responsible for the production of somatotrophin in cows is isolated and then inserted into E. coli. The transformed bacteria produce somatotrophin, believing this hormone to be necessary for their survival. After collection and purification, the hormone is ready to be administered to cows.

The consumption of bovine somatotrophin poses no risks to humans
Somatotrophin also stimulates growth, which explains its other name, growth hormone. Because humans also secrete a growth hormone (HST, human somatotrophin), there was some fear that bovine somatotrophin would have effects on humans. However, the two hormones are quite different and bovine somatotrophin produces no effects in humans.

  • Somatotrophin is degraded by the human digestive system.
  • The level of somatotrophin found in the milk of cows that have received it is identical to that in milk from other cows.
  • 90 % of somatotrophin is destroyed during the pasteurisation of milk.